Design patents cover the ornamental look of an object rather than any functional aspect. If the high court takes up the case, it will be the first time it’s looked at the law regarding design patents since disputes involving spoon handles in the 1870s and carpets in the 1890s. “A patented design might be the essential feature of a spoon or rug,” Samsung wrote in its petition. “But the same is not true of smartphones, which contain countless other features that give them remarkable functionality wholly unrelated to their design.”
Samsung also is challenging the infringement analysis, saying the jury was improperly allowed to consider even unprotected aspects of the iPhone in determining if the specific patented features were infringed. The USD 399 million forms the bulk of a USD 548 million settlement reached earlier this month, which Samsung paid on 11 December. The Supreme Court is expected to decide early next year whether to take up the case.